Is your job ruining your life?
If that’s the case, I wouldn’t be surprised. Because many people work at a job they should have no part of. And then they suffer the consequences.
Maybe it’s because they settled and took the first job offered to them. Maybe they needed the money to provide for themselves or their family. Maybe they felt that other people would be proud of them if they took the job.
No matter the motivation, the result is that this decision to take that particular job didn’t work out—at all.
What makes matters worse is work doesn’t take up a few hours day. On average, it’s the single biggest time sucker of an individual’s entire week.
If you’re lucky, you might only work 40 or 45 hours a week. For other people, they’re stuck at a job putting in 70, 80, or 100 hours for their company.
You’ll spend more time working than you do enjoying yourself after work and on the weekend. That means if work sucks, you’re spending the majority of your awake hours doing something that doesn’t satisfy you.
So it’s no wonder that working at a job that’s not for you is incredibly frustrating, disheartening, and mentally and emotionally exhausting.
Since misery loves company, I remembered conversations I had with people who hate their work and pulled together 15 signs that your job is ruining your life.
I figured at least you can find solace in the fact that you can relate to other people who are in the same boat as you.
Signs Your Job Is Ruining Your Life
1. You constantly complain about work to anyone who will listen.
Your go-to conversation with everyone is to complain about how bad your job is and all the negative things that happened to you each day.
Even strangers—your Uber driver, the guy sitting next to you on the plane, your waitress—have to listen to you vent about your work.
Eventually your friends and family become too scared to ask you about your job anymore. They know better than to open that can of worms and ruin a pleasant time.
And the negativity you speak about work brings you into complain mode about the other areas of your life. You’ve become Negative Nelly.
2. You check the time at work at least 10 times a day.
When work is the worst, you naturally are counting the hours, minutes, and seconds until you can go home and escape the pain.
So you find yourself constantly checking your computer screen clock and then your phone screen time to see how much more time you have to spend on the job.
You start to believe that the clock is playing a sick joke on you by moving extra slow at work. And moving too fast when you get out of work.
3. The hardest thing in the world is to get out of bed to go to work.
Laying in your bed is comfortable, soothing, and nothing is expected of you.
On the other hand, your work is, well, awful. It’s uncomfortable. You don’t enjoy the work. You have too much work. You’re expected to look presentable, act friendly, and perform above par.
Because of your disdain for work, it takes all of your willpower not to call in sick every morning. It’s a miracle that you overcome this fight every morning and somehow get out of bed to face your enemy.
Then you have to pull off another miracle the next morning to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other to get to the office.
4. The best part of your day is lunch break.
Ideally, work is so fun, challenging, and satisfying that it beats a burger and fries any day of the week. You assume other people have jobs like that, but you’d take eating all day instead of working.
Anything that distracts you from work and knocks time off the clock beats work, so lunch is the best thing that happens all day. If you only could get an extended lunch break, like two hours for lunch would be nice.
5. You get extra annoyed with your coworkers and boss.
The people at your job were fine in the beginning. But now that this job has turned sour, you can’t help but think the people at this place are also bothering you.
Now you focus on all of their weaknesses because that makes you feel slightly better about yourself and predicament. And so the thought of spending any extra time with your coworkers at an office Christmas party or work event sounds like torture.
You don’t try to make friends at work. That’s why you rattle off excuses week after week about why you can’t make it to the after work happy hour gathering.
6. You’ve stopped caring about your performance and do the minimum.
The thought, “Why should I do my best work when I’m not appreciated or taken care of,” regularly crosses your mind in the middle of an assignment. Slowly that becomes your day-to-day approach to all things work.
And the scary part is you’re 100% apathetic about it. You don’t even care that you’ve stopped caring.
Doing the minimum is your way to protest and express your frustration with the job, company, and yourself.
Unfortunately, this approach only makes matters worse.
7. You drink more now than you ever have.
Most people get a good chunk of their wild drinking done in high school and college, but not you. Alcohol has become your safety net during this stressful season called the real world, so you drink more than ever.
On weeknights, you always have a few big glasses of wine—sometimes the entire bottle depending on how bad the day—before bed.
And those weeknight drinks are nothing compared to the stress release you seek on the weekend. You’re pounding beers, wine, vodka, and anything that might resemble alcohol to mentally escape the reality of your job.
You’re not proud of it. You just don’t know how else to cope with work.
8. You’ve gained weight because of stress eating.
Stuck in a job that makes you miserable, many people eat a bunch of comfort food to try to make themselves feel better.
In the short term it may work to improve your mood, but over time stress eating a bunch of unhealthy food causes more problems than you bargained for.
Not only will you be in a bad job, your health, weight, fatigue, and sleep can suffer because of this stress eating.
That means you compounded one problem into many more that hurts your self-esteem and wellness.
9. You feel the paycheck isn’t worth it anymore, you’d rather be broke.
No amount of money can alleviate the terror of spending 45 hours at the last place on earth you’d want to be.
If being broke is the penalty that comes with escaping this 9-to-5 slavery, you’re thinking so be it. You’ll happily sign up for that instead.
And you consider the income dirty money since it’s tied to the job that causes you so many negative feelings.
You know you’d do anything to get paid for a job that you don’t mind doing, let alone do work you love. Doing a job you love legitimately sounds like a unicorn to you.
10. You procrastinate at a ridiculous level.
Procrastinating has become a game that you’re good at.
For example, you take an absurd amount of bathroom breaks. If the company kept track, you would set the record for most fake bathroom visits to get on your phone for a few minutes of peace.
You’re always on the internal company chat messaging your buddies about non-work related subjects.
You read articles and view non-work related websites like that’s your job, while of course listening for footsteps to click away when your boss walks by. Sometimes you can’t tell if you got caught or not.
And if your boss is out of town, then you come in late to start the day and leave the office early at the end of the day. Procrastination at its finest.
11. Your anxiety has never been worse.
Your entire week is an endless storm of anxiety. The mornings thinking about work, to suffering at work, and then feeling anxious at night about the next day of work, will take a toll on your mental health.
And that doesn’t begin to describe how you feel on Sunday. That weekend break went way too fast and now you’re back to where you started, dreading the next week of work like it’s sure to kill you.
You’re also struggling with the fact that your anxiety is hard to explain to the people who care about you.
12. You would be relieved if you got fired.
This is similar to the feeling of not giving a crap about your work performance.
But it’s worse because you’re admitting your life might actually be better if you were unemployed without an income, than working at this job you thought was a good idea at the start.
And many times this means you don’t want to quit for fear of what people think. So you’d rather be fired to collect an unemployment check and rid yourself of this treacherous job.
Though, don’t get me wrong, quitting is still very much an option at this point.
13. You wonder where in your past you went so wrong.
You go back and forth questioning if you went to the wrong school, picked the wrong major, hung out with the wrong people, spent your time poorly, and live in the wrong city.
It’s not out of the question to second guess your entire life after the job you picked turned into such a disaster.
You no longer have any confidence in who you are and where you’re going from here. Your job sucks so it feels like your life sucks.
14. You wonder how any senior employees put up with this work for so long.
You sometimes wonder how in the world the senior employees spent 10, 20, and 30 years here when you feel horrible about the work already.
You think questions like, “What do they know that you don’t? How are they able to put up with it, and maybe enjoy it? Does anyone else here feel like I do or is it just me?”
It only makes you feel worse that other people have stayed here for decades and succeeded in their roles, but you feel like quitting. The problem seems to be you.
15. You only think about how bad your job is and nothing else.
To say your job consumes you wouldn’t do it justice. It owns your thoughts at work and out of work.
You have a hard time distracting yourself with the things you used to enjoy because your big problem is nagging at your attention and won’t go away.
Your birthday and holidays don’t have the same joy to them.
You’re depressed because of your job. You don’t know what to do or how to get out of feeling this way.
You just want a fresh start and to feel happy again.
This is Part 1 of the Dream Job Series. Read Part 2.